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Natalie Maines

Mother (Columbia)

Reviewed by Abby Johnston, Fri., May 24, 2013

Phases & Stages

Natalie Maines

Mother (Columbia)

Voltaire said, "Originality is nothing but judicious imitation," and with nine out of 10 tracks on Mother being covers, Natalie Maines takes that assertion to heart. After years of silence following the promotional cycle for the Dixie Chicks' Taking the Long Way in 2006, the group's leader, in collaboration with Ben Harper, crafts imitations with the care of a music scholar on her solo debut. Taking on Pink Floyd in the title cut is serious business, but Maines does it fearlessly. Expansive and lovely, the song receives a twang and feminine lilt, the line "Mother are they going to break my balls?" spit with a defiance rivaling Roger Waters. Other stunners include Jeff Buckley's "Lover, You Should've Come Over," transformed from ballad to steel brawl. "Take It on Faith," co-written by Maines, assumes the pomp of a closer, but yearns for an accompanying LP of originals. Maines makes each track her own, Patty Griffin's "Silver Bells" as pointed as any Dixie Chicks tune, but we're hungry for her rough-and-tumble songs.

***

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